On Monday, June 19th Americans across the USA can celebrate the Emancipation Proclamation which ended slavery in the United States. Founded first in Texas in 1865, the holiday has had ebbs and flows in celebration and acknowledgement and in 2020 was made into a state holiday by former Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. In a season where it is vital to celebrate the lives of fellow Black Americans, here are ways Juneteenth can be celebrated this week in the community!
Visit the Museum of Fine Arts Boston! Visitors can check out the newly opened exhibit “Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina,” celebrating the pottery made by enslaved people in Old Edgefield in the 1800s.
Connect with black makers/owners/organizations in your community. Here are a few that come to mind for me:
Artist, Ayana Mack, who does events in the community engaging artists, wellness, and creativity
African Brand/Retailer, Elorm Praise Dela-Seshie, and her store Adorn Me Africa
Owner/Maker, Steysy Clark, of House of Art and Craft in Brighton, MA that has a variety of homegoods - my personal favorite are candles that I reuse the jars for personal plants!
Ankhara By Luciana is another maker/designer I enjoyed supporting because she creates one of a kind Home Décor and Accessories from Luxury Designer Guild and Industry exclusive Interior Decorating Fabrics. I’m a fan of her accent pillows which I have at home.
When it comes to food, a go-to to support a black business owner is Petsi Pies(pronounced “peet-see”). They are an independent, community-minded bakery and coffee bar serving up scratch made pies and pastries in Somerville, Massachusetts since 2003. From their website, “Founder Renee ‘Petsi’ McLeod grew up baking pies in her grandmother’s kitchen and hasn’t stopped since. McLeod transferred business ownership to Jill Remby in February 2021, who says, ‘I’m excited to continue working with the team, to continue making great pies, and to keep Renee’s legacy alive.’”
Learn about Black owned businesses in the Boston area through Black Owned Boston- it’s a great network to quickly find business of various types owned by black individuals.
In the days and weeks to come, especially after Juneteenth ends, remember that caring for our black communities is important everyday! A way we can do that is to get to know our community and how creative, flexible, and special they are - one person at a time!
Lou Lim, LMHC, REAT is a licensed mental health counselor and registered expressive arts therapist (REAT) with a master's degree in Expressive Therapy and Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University. He is a member of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association and on the committee for REAT credentialing. He has 13 years of experience in counseling and expressive therapy working with children, adolescents, teenagers, adults, and retirees.